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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  February 19, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PST

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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: >> the hard way is not taking shortcuts. the hard way is setting the bar too high. the hard way is the pursuit of perfection. you can learn more at >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, coitted to small busins and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by:
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the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary:" up first the face blind the budget. senior advisor valerie jarrett in how the budget will hit or help your pocketbook. behind the headlines, yes fas are helping women gain more power in the corporate world than american women have. >> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse
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perspectives. up first, your pocketbook and the budget. this week, president obama unveiled his proposed 2012 budget. his goals are cutting the deficit and stimulating job growth. in a one-on-one interview with white house senior advisor valerie jarrett, she says america's place in the global economy is also paramount. >> we want to be able to out innovate, out educate, out build the rest of the world. our competitions no longer here between democrats and republicans. our real competition is global. the president says, let's get rid of programs that don't work also invest in the future. and what's the biggest impact on women, children, families, the biggest single impact in your view of the president's budget? >> as you know i chair the white house council on women and girls, it was created by president obama to make sure that every single federal agency
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was focusing on what it could do to improve the lives of women and girls. the president's budget in every department touches the lives of women and girls so there isn't a single impact, it's everything from investing in early childhood education to investing in family planning, childhood nutrition, you name it try to avoid domestic violence, something that's been a very big part of both the president and vice president. if you go and look at every single department we have resources in there designed to improve the quality of life of both women and gir. >> but a couple of the programs you mentioned, for example, family planning, early childhood education go up in this buglet yes, they do. >> how do you do that -- at a time when the biggest thing is jobs and trying to get federal spending under control? >> you have to be strategic. the federal government spends money, it has a large budget what the president said is, let's look at the budget make
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sure that we're measuring our investment against what the return is going to be. top priority is creating jobs. best way to do that is to invest in innovation, education and obviously infrastructure, puts people back to work. that's what he wants to do. but at the same time we have to look at programs that are outdated, it's time to take a hard look at the federal government say, a program that was created in the '40s may no longer be real rant today. if it's not working. we also took tough -- president made tough decisions about programs that he does care desperately about but that we simply can't afford in this fiscal environment. so -- >> what are those? >> for example, we're from chicago. community development block grants are very important to cities. we had to cut that program by about 7.%. that was a very hard decision for the president to make because he knows how important those resources are to cities. but initially that cut was going to be far larger, we scaled it back a bit but it's still a cut.
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making those kind of decisions are very hard but every family across america right now is having to tighten its belt. it's time for the federal government to do the same. >> what is going to happen to title 10 battle in congress, what do you predict, family planning funds, domestically and in ii nationally under the bush administration. you're now raising those budgets. >> which are pretty controversial budgets in this country. >> it's a priority of the president. so we will go out and we will try to explain why we think it's important for those resources to be allocated. we're going to engage, i think what we do we go in with very hopeful and op mow 'tis particular spirit. you have to look no further back than the lame duck session at the end of last year, both the president working with congress, we put our minds to it. and everyone says there was no way that we were going to get don't ask don't tell repealed. people were surprised get the star treaty passed.
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very surprised the nutrition passed. that the 9/11 fund passed. we were able to get a tax package through that enables r abled extension of unemployment benefit, child tax credit and a payroll tax credit and increasing again money to help make college affordable. all these very, very important to help get people back to work and give them the resources that they need and hopefully create jobs. so we did it then, if we did it then, we can do it again. that's what the american people expect of us. >> are you or the president at all disappointed that the job stimulus bill two years ago that congress passed did create jobs but they seemed to be temporary jobs, census jobs, construction jobs, et cetera and that hasn't given more of a boost to the economyf so how does this budget address that? >> first of all there are over three million people working today who would have lost their jobs had it not been for the
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recovery act. so it did do a very good job. hasten to think where we would have been without it. unemployment rate would be substantially higher than it is now. the president said, ordinarily he wouldn't support that kind of use of federal dollars. but we were in a dire emergency. now that we've moved from that face and this recovery phase now we're seeing private sector job growth, the economic indicators that we saw at the end of last year were very hopeful. businesses are hiring gibb. now it's time to work with the private sector because that's where the long term sustainable growth will come from. we are very optimistic about that. >> what in this budget helps perpetuate the expansion? >> good question. making research and development dollars available, making tax credit for r&d permanent making sure that we're investing in clean energy and doing the kind of up front work that only government can do. there's so many investments in science and technology that we do to incubate really good ideas that's part of what america is
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known for is having brilliant ideas but those brilliant ideas need government to help get them started and then the private sector takes them off and runs with them. >> can you give me an example in this budget of where there is something that was cut or expanded that he really didn't want to put in there but there were so many critics from the tea party and so on that he listened to them and took their suggestion. >> for example in the affordable care act on medical malpractice. that's an idea that the republicans surfaced during the process of health insurance reform and president is moving forward on that. there are provisions in there that came from republicans and were also interested in going forward thinking what can we do to make that more efficient because we have to bring down our health care costs. that is a single biggest problem that we have with our deficit over the long term, affordable care act over the next two decades we save a trillion dollars that's bringing down our deficit by a trillion dollars.
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that's very important. we want to do more in this year's budget medicaid is 62 billion dollars of inefficiencies in medicaid. so bringing in all those kinds ever ideas is what we should do on an ongoing basis. that's what the president is more than open to doing. >> irene natividad is it as easy as valerie jarrett seems to think in helping women and families in this budget and cut the deficit at the same time? >> it's never easy funding for programs for women and girls usually are the first to go in budget cutting years. so i'm glad the president decided to continue investing in american families. >> we're all going to have to make tough choices to get our country's fiscal health in order. despite this picture discretionary spending goes up, the deficit does not come down that's not good for anyone. >> nothing is easy in this political climate. at least this budget does in fact make sure that women and
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families aren't left behind. >> it's good for women and families is a strong economy and i think we need to control the deficit, i think that's only thing that's going to create jobs and build investor confidence, this budget proposal doesn't cut it. >> doesn't cult it. how? you're a moderate. >> yes. most of the time. and -- you are still not happy? >> look at this budget. it's actually going to add $1.1 trillion to the deficit. this budget -- >> not in the next year. >> over the decade all their assumptions are built over the decade. if you look at gross domestic product it's over 76% of gdp -- >> i know you're giving a very intelligent answer but i kind of want to get away from the typical budget discussion. if you're low income latino family living in new york city or chicago what does all this
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mean to them? >> it means if you really want the value of your dollar to be meaningful when you go shopping since you have limited resources you have to have strong dollars. you have to have a strong base for purchases and goods and services that kind of thing. if we grow our deficit at this rate we're not going to have that. i thinknflaon is going to creep in. i think we're just going to continue to -- 77% of the gdp is the deficit? >> as you point out that's the end ever ten years. we're talking about the end of next fiscal year over ever 100% of our debt will be more more than gdp. we're not dash again -- >> wait a minute. wait. how does that -- why should typical family -- >> because -- >> any outside country that actually owns a lot of our dollars right now, nine being one of them, you guys are actually have more debt than what you're producing as a
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country. it completely pecks what the dollars were. that hurts everybody's purchasing power. i don't care if you are warren buffet or making $25,000 a year your dollar is worth less money that hurts poor people a lot more than rich people. >> i don't think it's voodoo economics. i think there is a real attempt to reduce over time the deficit. there's also real attempt to try to put stimulus in the economy through infrastructure and let me tell you something,hat we did invest for a long time is the infrastructure development of this country, our roads are falling apart, bridges are falling apart, those will create jobs. it may not be as much as you want and there is investment in research and development which we need to do. now, for the average latino familiar plea isn't it great that they can still keep early childhood education. isn't it great that we're not going to take away the very thing that will create a much more informed, better educated society. i use that term not loosely,
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investment in e american family is critical. he didn't cut, in fact raise the funding for those programs that will try to ensure that for the low income level families that we're most worried about. >> we're chomping at the bit over here. because he created a fiscal commission, bipartisan fiscal commission -- however one of the republican head of that bipartisan commission former senator since then of wyoming loved his budget. >> the point being that he tiptoed around everything that had to do with entitlement, that had to do with tax reform, defense, he just -- >> the hard choices. >> he specifically cut defense thank god because we could afford to do that. >> you were worried about the value of the dollar going down. the average person in my neighborhoods wants the dollar they want a job. what this budget does is make sure that we have some
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investments in there for job creation. if we want to be able to compete in the global marketplace, we have to outinnovate, we have to outbuild and do that to get americans back to work when we do that then we'll have more taxpayers putting revenue in to the system. balancing the budget is more than about cutting. when we gave massive tax cuts to millionaires we hurt that imbalance even more. >> i want to jump in here. both sides here pretty much represent what's going on in congress. how are -- how are you all going to get together? [laughter] >> let me say there's a debate going on right now which most americans look at. we're all going to have to take a step back and say, we're all going to make some tough choices, nobody gets away from it. you look at what's happening in wisconsin right now, we want to keep our education system afloat, you mean to tell me that means that these teachers in wisconsin who are demanding they shouldn't have to pay for any of
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their health care when they got better health care than probably warren buffet does. over $20,000 auto year they're getting they're not paying for it. they're not willing to step up to the table and say i'll pay for 10% of that. president obama is endorsing that, he's endorsing their position. i'm sorry -- >> we don't pay -- >> wait a second, you guys. we are out of time on this topic. i'm sorry. obviously we needed an hour. behind the headlines. women in the board room. a seat on a corporation's board of directors delivers a lot of decision-making power and great influence in the business world. board members represent a diverse group of shareholders, yet many corporate boards lack diversity themselves. getting more wen to boards has been difficult in the u.s. as well as in europe. but european laws and social action have placed some european countries way ahead of the us in this regard.
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>> in norway and i think in europe, we consider democracy, not only to be about equal rights at the political arena, it's also about equal rights at the economic arena. a country like norway could not afford to have half its talents go unused. it is clearly a market failure when in 2003 only 7% of all board memberin the corporate sector were women. >> norway is the world leader for gender diversity on corporate boards. eight years ago the country passed a strict quota law mandating 40% of board seats at all publicly-listed and state-owned companies must be filled by women. today, corporations have surpassed the 40% minimum and even private companies have increased their share of women directors. >> the law was actually introduced to parliament by the conservave -- or a conservative centered government, first in 2004.
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and then it was followed through by the next government which is center-left government. so i think an important part is that it was, i cannot say bipartisan because in norway we have at least seven parties in the parliament, but it was across the board agreement at the political levels. >> finland, which is right behind norway for corporate diversity, took a different approach. instead of government action, the finnish business community took on the problem itself. in 2008 the finnish corporate governance code was issued, stating simply that "both genders shall be represented on ...board(s)." companies who ignore the code must publicly declare why they lack female representation. >> ten to fifteen years ago we hardly had any women on the boards of listed companies and with this corporate governance code, the situation in 2008 was that only one-half of the listed companies had any women on their boards and now the number is
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three-fourths, so it rose significantly with this corporate governance code without binding legislation. >> the fear of having to proclaim why women aren't represented may have led companies to comply. however, some businesses may have also realized women are good for their bottom lines. a 2007 study of more than 14,000 finnish firms found those led by women were 10-20% more profitable than those with all male leadership. >> i think it is not that one person is a woman or one person is a man. but there are some reasons for it. maybe the women could bring more new ideas to the company and also it could be that the companies who are willing to choose women to their boards are actually more open-minded and innovative, as such so they are
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not tied to their old habits and when they are willing to choose women it shows that they are open to find new ideas to find markets for their products. >> studies from around the world have proven the power of female leadership in business. spain and most recently france are among a handful of european countries passing laws to increase board diversity. critics say quota laws and governing codes would never work in america. however canada is testing out quotas. >> well, i guess it started with amending our constitution some years ago and having the equality clause and i feelhat we have to have that provision for almost every piece of legislation. so we represent fifty, maybe a little bit more than 50%, so we don't call it quota. i mean this is a -- it has for me a negative connotation. the publicly traded company, the rationale behind it is that they are funded with pension funds
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that are equally funded by men and women. it's the savgs of all the quebec people and canadian people. >> canadian senator celine hervieux-payette introduced legislation in parliament to establish gender parity in corporate canada. conservatives recently voted to kill the bill, but she believes the country can no longer afford to have male dominated leadership. >> well, look at how norway went through the crisis. they're the ones that really went through it in a much better way than other countries. so when you talk about market-oriented, when you talk about serving the interest of shareholders, i am quite sure that everybody wants to have a better return for their investment and pension funds. i'm quite satisfied that we will have to pool all our brains if we want to compete with the rest of the world. >> early studies from norway show diversity has had little impact or sometimes even harms the corporate bottom line.
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but supporters say it's too early to measure the long-term effects of the quota law. they also point out that majority-male boards drove businesses into the current world economic crisis. >> i always say in that case that 10-15 years ago we had all male quotas and there were not that many people at that time who were saying that there was something wrong about it. >> irene, you spend half your life or two-thirds going around the world working on this very issue the fact that we are quota-avoidance here in the united states is that why we're falling behind so many other countries that are getting ahead of us in terms of womens' rights, women's power when 20-30 years ago we were at the top. >> well, quotas aren't going to happen in the united states have a different system here. >> what about voluntary
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corporate -- what deathier did in finland. >> right now the securities and exchange commission has passed a regulation that demands companies in their annual filings to talk about the diversity of their boards. they didn't, however, stay whether gender diversity, racial, leaving it up to the companies. it's an initial step. i would love to be a european right now because, let me tell you it's not just norway, spain and france. italy -- italy pse it inhe lower house, the pink quota. the netherlands passed it in the lower house. then in terms of quotas for state-owned companies you have finland, iceland, denmark, ireland, us owe real and south africa. and state-owned companies are utilities, they're airlines, they're major companies in those countries. what happened is that in europe they mandated quotas for political participation. they are quotation for economic lead are ship of women. and i salute it.
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i think it will change numbers dramatically. >> you are a republican, part of the bush administration do you support the quotas or not? >> no, i don't support quotas. i think anything forced like that is not going to work auto becktively. >> do you agree here falling behind other countries in terms of womens' advancement, and our aversion to quotas help put us there? >> i now have long history in enforcing affirmative action laws, what i found is oftentimes to meet this quota women were harmed because they were harmed because a lot of the women were promoted or were hired in to the jobs with tremendous expectations then they wouldn't meet those expectations. you can't say you are a woman -- i think it has to be pressured. the problem is pipeline issues. we don't have women and senior executive levels to fill for recycling a lot of the corporate
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directors for one company to the next. and i think that's a problem. >> just because -- that's because the definition of what the qualifications are for a corporate director has remained the same a. former c.e.o. really somebody who handle very large portfolio. we do have such women. they aren't being asked. let me also tell you that there is tremendous research that says women on boards, any senior management, create better bottom line as was stated in finland. this is a top-down. quotas are a top-down strategy for increasing women in corporate leadership. we did -- we thought you just hire enough down here we'll get them to go up. it didn't hpen. so now maybe with more women on corporate boards they will see the need for more women and senior management. >> but it's not track leading yet. >> not yet. it's too early to count. >> it is too early to count. we've had a lot of men in charge for a very long time and they're
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still in charge. let's see what happens. the norwegian government is doing an assess. >> we're out of time. that's our assessment. former network anchor on racial and gender discrimination. please join us. please join us on the web for "to the contrary extra." whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: >> the hard way is not taking shortcuts. the hard way is setting the bar
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too high. the hard way is the pursuit of perfection. you can learn more at >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. for videotapes of "to the contrary", please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.
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